What is the Environmental Crisis in Libya, it's history and future?
Libya: Rich in Oil, Poor in Nearly Everything Else

Rich in oil but poor in water, the environmental challenges Libya faces will not be eliminated by improved diplomatic relations with the United States.  As the first U.S. Ambassador to be appointed to Libya in decades arrives in the country in January, the grave environmental dilemma facing the nation must be addressed.  Analysts believe that Libya was the first country in the world to run out of water in the mid 1970’s.  
Libya, one of the richest and fourth largest African countries does not have one permanent river.  Before General Qaddafi began construction on the largest water pipe line in the world, the country depended solely on wells and a few desalination plants.  In an effort to alleviate Libya’s crisis, Qaddafi is building an enormous water pipeline.  The pipeline supplies just Tripoli alone with 2.5 million cubic meters of water a day.  The water comes from a vast underground basin, which lies beneath the Sahara.  Qaddafi along with most Libyan’s believed the water pipeline was the most viable solution.  But, no one knows the environmental side effects on water tables in agricultural areas or the oasis in the Sahara.  Moreover, some scientists believe that these underground wells may be drained in 50 years.  
This situation has alarmed Sudan and Egypt.  The two nations are concerned over the threat of the depletion of heir own underground water supplies.  As Libya emerges as a global player, which is fueled by oil executive’s belief that it is the richest oil exploration country in the world, one needs to look at the long-term impacts of tapping the country’s oil reserves.  Libya’s high quality crude oil is much sought after and only 25% of the country has been prospected.  But the question of Libya’s future is amplified further as oil accounts for 95% the country’s exports..  Thus the threat of economic collapse after the cessation of oil and the task of diversifying is urgent.  Once thought to be the next Dubai, what will happen to Libya; a country rich in oil but poor in nearly everything else?

Environmental Facts

*Rich in oil, poor in water

*95% of Libyan territory is covered by desert

*It has been 8,000 years since the last consistent rainfall

*4th largest African country has only one navigable river

*1970’s Libya was facing an unprecedented crisis some analyst believe that Libya which relied solely on wells and a few token desalination plants, may have become the first country in the world to run out of water

*Colonel Qaddafi’s solution was to tap the vast underground basin with the sandstone shelves the lie beneath the Sahara.

*Libya depends completely on fossil fuels

*No one knows the environmental side effects on water tables in agricultural areas on the oasis of the Sahara

*Money spent on first stage could have been used for funding for 5 desalination plants

*Neighboring Sudan and Egypt have weighed in concerned over the threat of their own underground water supplies

*It is possible that the underground water supplies may be exhausted in 50 years

*Most Libyan’s believe that there was not choice but to build the water pipeline

*Libyan’s remember how the Crown Prince of Dubai visited Libya in the early 1970’s and marveled at what he saw; openly hoping that Dubai may one day reach Libya’s level

*Libya rose from one of the poorest countries to one of the richest in 50 years